DATA to Insight

Gun deaths in the U.S.

Here are yearly gun deaths per year for whites and everyone else, 2001-2010:

                white  nonwhite       ALL
    homicide    2,900     9,000    11,900
    suicide    15,300     2,200    17,500
    TOTAL      18,200    11,200    29,400


Examining the table from the overall total, through the marginal totals, to the individual counts reveals the following:

  1. During the period about 80 people per day were killed by guns.
  2. The overall gun death rate is almost certainly considerably higher for nonwhites than for whites.
  3. Suicides outnumber murders 3 to 2.
  4. The number of nonwhites who kill themselves is roughly equal to the number of whites murdered.
  5. Whites tend to use guns 5-to-1 for suicide and nonwhites use guns 4-to-1 for homicide.

One could use these numbers to argue that opposition to gun control both defends the right of white Americans to kill themselves and abets the shooting of nonwhite Americans.

Well-designed datagraphics offer insights, but here we learn by examining the numbers first.